Rabbis call for support of Far Rockaway yeshiva

Letter from five local spiritual leaders brings in over $1 million


Five local yeshivas joined forces to garner financial support for Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam in Far Rockaway — and their efforts have been successful.

Signing a letter calling for support for the yeshiva were Rabbi Yaakov Bender of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway; Rabbi Ephraim Blumenkrantz of Bnos Bais Yaakov in Far Rockaway; Rabbi Akiva Eisenstadt of Bais Yaakov of the Five Towns in Lawrence; Rabbi Moshe Monczyk of Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst; and Rabbi Meyer Weitman of Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway.

“A person’s success throughout life is based, in large part, on the strong foundation laid during their formative years as an elementary school student,” the rabbis wrote in the letter. “Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam needs critical ongoing financial support so that they can continue their mission of providing a stellar education to each and every one of their students.”

The letter dated March 21, addressed to parents and friends of the participating yeshivas, outlined the “severe” financial crisis the school is facing, falling four months behind on payroll and fearing the potential of closure.

“Many of these students might be the daughters of your family, your friends, and your neighbors,” the rabbis wrote. “As a community and as one cohesive unit, we want to make sure that we are making a real effort to help our very own.”

The rabbis said community members could donate at the campaign link, where they have since raised more than $1 million of their goal, which increased to $1.25 million with the influx of support, from families the letter was mailed to, and sharing it on social media.

Weitman said Torah Academy for Girls joined forces with the other yeshivas in the campaign for funding because they see Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam as a valuable resource to the community with a need for broader backing.

“It’s a small school — they don’t have a broad support base,” Weitman said. “Every school has challenges, every school needs support. We’re definitely no different.”

At Torah Academy, Weitman said their longstanding community support provides them with people they can constantly turn to in times of need, whereas Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam needed additional outreach.

Asked if overall support for yeshivas or Jewish education is wavering, Weitman said the families at Torah Academy are happy with their experience.

“Our parent body definitely supports the education they’re getting,” Weitman said. “The parents that send (their children) to our schools definitely desire this education.”

Shulamith joined the campaign to help out because its priority is providing the students from the local communities with a proper education, Monczyk said, adding that the yeshivas that signed the letter calling for support are in constant communication and share like values.

“When one goes down, we don’t want to go up,” Monczyk said. “They are our children, we’re one community.”

Monczyk also said it is important to keep up with the demand for yeshivas and Jewish education in the area.

“The Five Towns, right now, is busting at its seams,” Monczyk said. “We need the schools. If the school closes down, everyone’s affected. Where are those kids going?”

Bais Yaakov of the Five Towns declined to comment. Bnos Bais Yaakov and Darchei Torah did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam also declined to comment.

Anyone wishing to donate can go to BYAM.hiraiser.com/FriendsOfByam.